Evening Pages, anyone? #SOL19

I have finally found my ideal way to end the day — Evening Pages. Many of you are probably familiar with Morning Pages, a morning writing routine that Julia Cameron first introduced in her book, The Artist’s Way. In it she writes about writing “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.” These pages aren’t meant to be perfect, well-thought out, or elegant. To see Cameron speak briefly about them, you may watch here. I have read elsewhere that some writers don’t focus so much on the number of pages, but on the amount of time that they write — say 20-30 minutes each morning. Either is a wonderful way to start the day, an opportunity to shake the cobwebs out of the mind, and perhaps launch a greater writing project.

My problem is that Monday through Friday, I just don’t have any morning writing time. I rise at 5:10, walk out the door at 6:10, arrive at school at 6:40, and then it’s off to the races with photocopying, answering emails, setting up my Kindergarten classroom, meeting with colleagues, and all the other busy work that happens before my students arrive at 8:00. You know the drill.

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But living a writerly life is important to me. I have found that writing at the other end of the day works just as well for me, and so I give you…Evening Pages! It’s now officially a thing! Writing in the late afternoon or evening is one the happiest times of my day. I open up my notebook and write. It might end up being five words or five pages. It could last five minutes or 45 minutes. Who knows. Each day is different. But I am writing, and that’s all that matters. Perhaps Evening Pages would work for you. What time of day do you do your free writing? Do you have a favorite routine? I’d love to hear about it in a comment. Happy writing!

P.S. Many thanks to Teach Write’s Jennifer Laffin who during one of our Wednesday evening online writing sessions said, “You should write a Slice about that!”

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Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday and every day in March. Won’t you join us?

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Trying Out Morning Pages #SOLC18

Many in our growing tribe of writers have referred to Morning Pages. This term was new for me, so I followed their lead, read Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write, and here we go. This morning was my first morning to try the pages. I wrote all three longhand, as you do, and then, after reflecting on the process, decided to type, edit just a bit, and slice. You don’t usually share your Morning Pages, but I’m relatively new to writing daily and I think the process and journey are fascinating enough to share just this once. Please forgive me, purists. 

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I’m tired on this Saturday morning. It’s 7:00 AM and I’m just sitting down to begin my weekend routine. This is late for me because my husband and I were out later than usual last night at a celebration in the school district where I teach. We arrived home at 9:30 PM and were tucked in by 10:00 PM, but read until 10:30 PM. While in theory this isn’t THAT late, when you are used to getting home by 6:00 PM and having time to settle in and wind down after a long week, it’s late.

So here I sit on the blue couch in the living room next to my husband. He has already dived into his Saturday morning routine of reading and writing. He’s got a book, laptop, and a notepad all going at the same time. He’s writing a book in his spare (hah!) time, and today got started at 6:30 AM. That’s late for him. He is usually up and reading — just reading — by 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM at the latest, but he was a terrifically supportive husband and came to the school celebration with me last night. In the summer months, when the weather is warm, you can find him as early as 4:00 AM on the porch reading. He loves 4:00 AM, and was actually just telling the husband of a colleague we met at the party last night (who is also writing a book in his spare time) about the virtues of 4:00 AM. 3:00 AM is still nighttime, and 5:00 AM brings the sounds of the world beginning to get going — cars, trucks, etc. At 4:00 AM all you hear is the dawn chorus growing gradually and a few other nocturnal creatures stirring. I never join him at 4:00 AM, but occasionally at 5:00 AM, if we’ve had an early night. But it’s usually closer to 6:00 AM. I try to start with reading and then a bit of writing, usually with Teach Write’s wonderfully prompts that arrive dutifully in my email in-box every morning. I am trying very hard not to start with my laptop or tablet. I know there are emails in my in-box, blog posts to read and comment on, and social media feeds to scroll through — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — and always in that order. It’s my routine and I’m not sure why I stick with that order, other than that’s the order in which they came into my life — email, then Facebook, then Twitter, and finally Instagram. I find if I start with technology-based activities, I easily fall down the internet’s seductive rabbit hole, and before I know it, the clock says I’ve run out of “me time” and I’ve got to get going with errands, chores, and life. So for now here I sit with notebook, pen, mug of coffee, and blank pages waiting to be filled.

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This post is part of the annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge organized by Two Writing Teachers. Join us! It’s my second year of Slicing in the challenge. (If you want to take a peek at the Padlet of writing ideas I’ve created, I’m happy to share. Click here! It grows every day.)